Photograph shows from left to right: Patrick Milne of DFS, Damilola Bamidele, Grants and Education Manager at The Furniture Makers’ Company, Joseph Glare, his mum Paula Kelly and Helen Alred of Gratterpalm


Our new Schools Design Prize is being mailed out to 900 UK secondary schools now!

As the furnishing industry’s charity, The Furniture Makers’ Company has a mission to drive excellence in design and manufacture, support those in need within the industry, and to educate the next generation to create a skilled and talented workforce for the future.

This begins with schoolchildren – by working directly with schools we can build confidence in young people and inspire them to consider a career in this exciting and rewarding industry.

A group of our members led by Jonathan Hindle and the V&A published Modern British Furniture – design since 1945 by design historian Lesley Jackson. In 2014, a pilot scheme was launched with sponsorship from our Corporate Members BrightHouse and B&Q to give 450 secondary schools a copy of the book as a prize for their best GCSE or A Level Design & Technology student.

The pilot was so successful that this year, over the next few weeks, we are sending out over 900 books to schools throughout the UK to reward young talent and inspire their future learning and career choices.

This year we are grateful for support from the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation.

 We are also fortunate to have generous sponsorship from many of our members and industry companies such as CPS Wales and NEJ Stevenson, plus several of our Corporate Members – BrightHouse, Howdens, Community Playthings, Axminster Tools & Machinery and Blum.

Charles Vernon, Chairman of the Education and Training Committee at The Furniture Makers’ Company said: “As the furnishing industry’s charity, we want to encourage new talent to enter our industry and have put in place an extensive education programme to help create a powerful workforce for the future.

“Our Schools Design Prize is one of several education initiatives we run and we hope that many of the schoolchildren involved are inspired to go into further education or training within the furnishing industry.

“We are delighted to have such excellent support and sponsorship from so many in the furnishing industry.”


DFS poster competition

As an accompanying project Corporate Member DFS sponsored a competition for schoolchildren to design a poster about careers within the furnishing industry. 

Joseph Glare of St Ambrose College in Manchester was the worthy winner. He spent a memorable and inspiring day, organised by Patrick Milne, Campaign Marketing Manager of DFS, with Helen Alred and her staff at Gratterpalm, who create graphics for DFS.

Paula Kelly, Joseph’s mum, said: “Joseph and I had a very interesting afternoon and he was fascinated by the creative output and environment of Gratterpalm.

“Please convey our thanks and appreciation to all concerned, particularly to Helen who gave us such an informative tour and to her colleague who worked with Joseph on revising the poster.”

The Gratterpalm team were able to fully realise Joseph’s vision for his poster, while also teaching him about the actual process of concept to delivery. The poster has now been printed and a copy is going out to over 900 schools with every Schools Design Prize.

Joseph has been invited to our annual Young Furniture Makers Exhibition on Thursday 15 October where he will be presented with a certificate and a framed copy of his poster.

The Young Furniture Makers Exhibition is a brilliant opportunity for students to show their best work to the people who support and sponsor them – members of The Furniture Makers’ Company, many of whom are leading business owners in the furnishing industry.



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